* The Business of Software

A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.

We're closed, folks!

Links:

» Business of Software FAQ
» The Business of Software Conference (held every fall, usually in Boston)
» Forum guidelines (Please read before posting!)

Moderators:

Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

download sites and copyright infringement

I read the following thread:
http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?biz.5.842216.37

about download sites bundling software from various vendors  with their own installer. There seems to be general agreement that this is copyright infringement. I checked out my own product on cnet and it is bundled with their installer.  Also, download.cnet.com has considerable content from my website, including screenshots.

My question is why have there not been lawsuits against cnet from the software vendors?  Maybe it is hard to prove financial damage actually occurred. I read about the Limewire lawsuit, but it was dropped.

One idea I have is to add a statement to the opening screen of my installer: "Warning: if you downloaded this program from any source other than the legal publisher, <mycompany.com>,  you should cancel this installation or otherwise are at risk of installing malware."
Bill Anonomist Send private email
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
 
 
Yes,  these guys take software off your site, which you own the copyright to, and which you are not freely licensing to any and all, commercial and otherwise. They take your software and bundle it with malware, and then they upload it on to their own servers, and earn money for bundling, and for ads, etc.

Including BIG ASS media companies like CNET.

So how is it they haven't been sued to oblivion for blatant THEFT of your intellectual property?

No idea. Try it and see what happens, then let us know, since I am curious.
Scott Send private email
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
 
 
CNET is owned by CBS, BTW, which is not only a TV network, but owns music labels, book publishers, sports teams, film studios and toy companies, as well as other things.

They legally pursue lots of people who steal their copyrighted shows and albums.
Scott Send private email
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
 
 
OK, I just got off the phone with an intellectual property attorney. He said I should definitely send them a cease and desist letter. He said there is no reason the letter has to be from a lawyer, but of course he would be happy to do it for me. If I do nothing I eventually lose any right to legal action against them.
It also may result in a reply from their attorney pointing out why they think they have the legal right and that information alone is worth something as it could identify a weakness in my software license agreement.

Further, he said there is significant financial damage because of the products they bundle and the advertising and promotional benefit of having my software listed on their website.
So he thinks it is worth pursuing. I asked about a class action suit and he said that is a possibility if others are interested.

Even in cases where no financial damage can be established, US copyright law provides for statutory damage up to $75K.

He also asked about my EULA: it has three items under the 'You may not" section:
publish the Software for others to copy
sell, rent, lease or lend the Software...
transfer the Software to any third party

and he thinks that should be more than adequate.
Bill Anonomist Send private email
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
 
 
I know I often end up on CNET, read the reviews, then go back to Google to try and find the direct download, to avoid their silly installer of the installer thing.

Problem is, deeper searching like that also tends to bring up cracked versions, which is obviously NOT what the seller wants.

For people less aware it could certainly lead to reduced installs, as that pointless add-on comes across as spyware, malware or something other than simply software.


AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
 
 
I think CNET now make it more clearer that you are downloading the software with CNET installer. Also they provide a direct link just below the Download button "Direct Download Link".

There is also a popup providing more info - "The CNET Download.com Installer is a tiny ad-supported stub installer or "download manager" that helps securely deliver your downloads from Download.com's servers. We also include offers for carefully screened software that complies with Download.com Software Policies as part of our Installer process"

Example (not my software) : http://download.cnet.com/Free-Photo-Viewer/3000-18488_4-10808200.html
Gautam Jain Send private email
Thursday, March 20, 2014
 
 
I believe there was a discussion here when they originally introduced the wrapper and lot's of people here complained and asked them to remove their software completely from download.com and I believe that they eventually did that. So, asking them to remove your software from their site might work.
ThistimeAnon Send private email
Thursday, March 20, 2014
 
 
> One idea I have is to add a statement to the opening screen of my installer: "Warning: if you downloaded this program from any source other than the legal publisher, <mycompany.com>,  you should cancel this installation or otherwise are at risk of installing malware."

Yes, I did that for my app last month, so my website states (next to my download button) that there's no risk of malware when downloading the software here on the official website.  Also, my EULA states that the product should only be downloaded from the official website, and that the user agrees to hold me blameless if they downloaded it from elsewhere and suffered damages or otherwise as a result.

Probably wouldn't stand up in court, but I hope it scares a few people to re-evaluate where they got it from, and ditch it for the "safe" version on my site.
PSB136 Send private email
Thursday, March 20, 2014
 
 
"So, asking them to remove your software from their site might work."

I did then a couple of years later they put it back, they really are a bunch of arseholes.
Ducknald Don Send private email
Thursday, March 20, 2014
 
 
@Guantam

"I think CNET now make it more clearer that you are downloading the software with CNET installer."

That's not relevant to their copyright infringement. They have had my software on their site for a few years. They have a financial gain every day because of the increased site visits they get, cross-selling opportunities, etc.
Bill Anonomist Send private email
Thursday, March 20, 2014
 
 
> I did then a couple of years later they put it back,

I asked them to keep my software listed, but NOT wrap my installer with their installer and they did that within a few days.

> they really are a bunch of arseholes.

Based on my experience working with them, it's more ineptitude than maliciousness.
Doug Send private email
Friday, March 21, 2014
 
 
I asked them to remove all wrappers on my stuff (5 or 6 pieces of software) on the site a couple of years ago and they did. Just checked now and it's still clean.
DV Send private email
Friday, March 21, 2014
 
 
+1 to ineptitude though, given my experiences too!
DV Send private email
Friday, March 21, 2014
 
 

This topic is archived. No further replies will be accepted.

Other recent topics Other recent topics
 
Powered by FogBugz